Tag Archives: richard herring

Gervais, mong and about 800 words about it

I know you’ve been waiting for some kind of opinion on this whole Ricky Gervais saying ‘mong’ thing, what with me being both a prolific social commentator and the kind of person you all turn to for the base on which to form all of your own opinions. So here are some words.

A bit back – I can’t be arsed checking exactly when – Ricky Gervais, ‘the best comedian in the world’, decided he was going to come back to Twitter. He left a bit bit back – I can’t be arsed checking exactly when – for some reason – I can’t be arsed checking why. He came back and he started using the word ‘mong’.

Mong, if you’re not aware, is a disparaging term used to make fun of people with Down’s Syndrome. I used to call my brother a mong when we were kids. He would call me a mongoloid from Mongolia. Everything would be ‘mongy’ or ‘monged’ or ‘mong the merciless’ or whatever else.

Basically, it’s a word I know of and a word I used a lot in my earlier days. Still do, sometimes, very rarely, and when my brain isn’t thinking. And you know why? Because it’s still not a very nice thing to say.

Now, Gervais is saying he’s ‘reclaiming’ the word… yeah, you’re just as black as those that reclaimed nigger, or just as gay as those who reclaimed faggot and queer. Definitely exactly the same situation there, and certainly not just a man shouting a word because it gets a reaction from people. That’s not an argument, it’s not a leg to stand on – it’s a lie. It’s a hasty protection constructed to deflect criticism and make people think ‘oh, it’s all a hilarious ironic jokey satirical humorous take on society at large, the taboos we all face on a daily basis and our general humanity, as well as the changing face of morals and what is acceptable through the ages’.

Well, that or it makes them think they should call people who disagree with Gervais a mong.

There has been a defence mounted of ‘freedom of speech’ and whatever else, and to echo Richard Herring – I’m all for that. I’m all for talking about anything and everything. I’ve gone on before – very recently in fact – about how everything is funny or nothing is funny.

But that doesn’t mean it’s funny just because you say it.

When I was a kid saying mong I said that word because I knew it wasn’t a nice word to use. When I said it it was because 1) it wasn’t swearing so I was allowed to say it, and 2) it was mean, nasty and insulting. Just like whenever my parents were out of earshot I would swear, because I knew it was bad, I knew it would draw reactions from those around me.

I knew it would get attention.

Just like now when I make jokes about questionable subject matter, from paedophilia to racism and everything inbetween – it’s to get a reaction, nothing more. I know why I do it, and I don’t defend it as being some higher cause I’m pursuing.

I don’t lie to myself, I don’t lie to my fans, I don’t lie to those that try and question what I’m doing and I don’t spend my time – with the massive influence I have – trying to make people restart using a word that had fallen by the wayside with good reason.

I’m going on a bit here, but it has annoyed. I’ve long held the belief that Ricky Gervais isn’t as talented as people think, and his shock-schtick wore thin pretty much the first time I heard it. It’s never done with subtlety or class. There’s never anything clever about it – it’s just saying the words. There’s never any deeper meaning to it – it’s just trying to get a reaction.

That’s simplistic, cynical and – worst of all, from a comedic standpoint – lazy. If you want to ‘reclaim’ the word mong, do so in a way that has some intelligence and point behind it, not just because you’re the loud kid begging for attention. I wouldn’t want to have to shout you down as a faggy, mong-faced nigger now, would I?

But hey, what does my opinion count? I’m not worth millions and in loads of films and stuff, so clearly everything I say and think is irrelevant.

This’ll do for the send off:

Oh, and those slating Herring for his Hitler Moustache routine are brilliant. It couldn’t be further from an attention-grabbing stunt if it tried (alright, maybe it could be a bit further, but you get the point):

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The day comedy died? No, but it might as well have.

This was written yesterday, halfway through The Morgana Show and almost immediately after Tramadol Nights.

You know what? Fuck you, Frankie Boyle. You were once interesting. Something new. Something I gave a shit about paying attention to. Then you turned into a wanker. Well, that or you just started showing it to your audience.

I’m fine with comedians insulting people, insulting their audience. I like aggressive comedy. I like abrasive humour. I have a distinct appreciation for comedians willing to push the boat out – to toy with taboos and say things that others wouldn’t. And not in a shitty ‘ohhhh, I’m so edgy’ kind of way, but in a Richard “Hitler Moustache” Herring kind of way.

But Frankie Boyle appears to have taken the path of least resistance. He’s already built himself the reputation from that shit version of Have I Got News For You of being the man who isn’t afraid to make a joke about anything. Fair enough – not a bad reputation to have. But what has he done with it apart from string together some painfully obvious gags on the back of some subjects a few people might wince at? It’s lazy in the extreme, it’s boring, it brings up ‘touchy’ subjects for the sake of it, rather than because there’s anything to actually say about it. I mean fucking hell – at least Jimmy Carr is bloody funny with his ‘close to the knuckle’ material.

Then, of course, there’s the rest of the show. I feel I have to like things Rab Florence is involved in – I’ve seen his career develop and have some kind of bizarre loyalty to the man (mainly due to Consolevania and its ilk). But that’s tested with Tramadol Nights, which – from the first episode, at least – does nothing but miss the mark. It feels as lazy as Boyle’s stand up. I’m likely to give it another chance if I remember, as it might be hitting its stride, but from what we’ve seen so far… no. It’s not going to work out.

I’ve been proven wrong before though. And maybe it’s all just been done to piss people off, which would be fucking annoying as it means someone who actually cared enough to make comedy for people to laugh at has lost out on a TV slot. In fact, that’s the potential reason that annoys me more than anything else, as it shows Boyle up to be a moneygrabbing cock of the highest order.

Still, at least it’s not The Morgana Show. I made the mistake of leaving my TV on so that show came on. Comedy is subjective. What amuses one may not amuse another. You cannot just say something is, or isn’t funny. But The Morgana Show is not funny. And I’m not wasting any more words on it.

So well done everyone. I still have little faith in modern comedy.

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A finely-honed comic missile of a duo

I have mentioned their names before in this blog, but I have never just said it: Stewart Lee and Richard Herring, as Lee & Herring, are the best comedy double act I’ve ever seen. There, I said it. Out loud. In words.

While some may dislike Lee for his monotonous, plodding delivery and how he labours over every single point made, and some may think Herring is an idiotic, childish, sexist berk, the combination of the two does two things. One, it makes it harder to notice these alleged faults, as both comic personalities cover each other’s bad points. Two, it helps you to realise they’re both actually brilliant comedians with finely honed stage personalities ripe to be misunderstood by the general public.

They were the double act that would spend lunch time on a Sunday dissecting the very nature of how to tell a joke, while at the same time having a go at boring, formulaic comedy:

They were the double act that – while Songs of Praise was on BBC One at the same time – would have far more interesting religious programming:

They taught me about the possessive apostrophe:

They showed me how Braveheart really ended:

And they had St George glassing a crow at lunch time on a Sunday:

One problem I have with their existence, however, is the fact that if other people see their act they will realise that every single thing I say in my life, ever, is because of them. It’s either a direct quote modified to suit the situation or just a few words or phrases here and there stolen wholesale. Lee and Herring reveal me to be unoriginal and a fraud. The bastards.

Fortunately this shocking admission won’t be noticed by anyone, seeing as this blog is read by nobody. HAH.

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